|  January 22, 2011

detail of a work in progress

Earlier this week I read a poem that my husband had bookmarked for me and it stayed with me all week as I went about my daily doings. And while I had a million things I needed to get done for specific deadlines in the studio today, I couldn’t help but work on two paintings that were inspired by this Raymond Carver poem from the book, Where Water Comes Together with Other Water: Poems. They are both still in progress, but above is a detail of one of the larger paintings.


Cigarette smoke hanging on
in the living room. The ship’s lights
out on the water, dimming. The stars
burning holes in the sky. Becoming ash, yes.
But it’s all right, they’re supposed to do that.
Those lights we call stars.
Burn for a time and then die.
Me hell-bent. Wishing
it were tomorrow already.
I remember my mother, God love her,
saying, Don’t wish for tomorrow.
You’re wishing your life away.
Nevertheless, I wish
for tomorrow. In all its finery.
I want sleep to come and go, smoothly.
Like passing out of the door of one car
into another. And then to wake up!
Find tomorrow in my bedroom.
I’m more tired now than I can say.
My bowl is empty. But it’s my bowl, you see,
and I love it.
-Raymond Carver

Those last two lines just…hit me right in the chest. So good.


  1. by Teri on January 23, 2011  3:23 am Reply

    I LOVE this painting!!! And that husband of yours: could he be any more romantic? I don't think my husband would EVER do something like bookmark a poem for you. No wonder it stuck in your head all week. How lucky you are.

  2. by Kim Hambric on January 23, 2011  8:35 am Reply

    I am obsessed with bowls. I unintentionally collect them. I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of your paintings.

    I think I need to seek out some Raymond Carver poetry. I'm forever wishing for tomorrow and complaining of having nothing in my bowl. Perhaps I will connect with his other poems.

  3. by renilde on January 23, 2011  11:43 am Reply

    Beautiful, love the colors in the painting and yes those two lines say it all.

  4. by Liz Hampton-Derivan Studio on January 23, 2011  11:49 am Reply

    Those last two lines hit me too. Good to remember - it's always yours - empty, full, in-between. So nice your husband bookmarked this for you. Love the colors and texture in your painting.

  5. by cerulean on January 23, 2011  2:43 pm Reply

    Looks beautiful as it is now.

  6. by JoyfulArt on January 23, 2011  3:10 pm Reply

    Both painting and poem are stunning.

  7. by HeartFire on January 23, 2011  4:52 pm Reply

    Wonderful painting and words to go with it....

  8. by Kelly M. on January 23, 2011  5:26 pm Reply

    It's funny how words can spark a painting. Wonderful how you interpreted Carver's work!

  9. by Sharmon Davidson on January 23, 2011  9:02 pm Reply

    Outrageously gorgeous, Bridgette! The poem is quite magical; I can see how it sparked the painting.

  10. by Leslie Avon Miller on January 23, 2011  10:39 pm Reply

    Enjoying the connection between the poetry lines and your work.

    I wonder, did he write that looking out on the Straight of Juan de Fuca? I can see the ships lights in my mind.

  11. by ArtPropelled on January 24, 2011  7:03 am Reply

    Bridgette your painting is beautiful and rich and wonderful! You are right about the last 2 lines....they are so powerful.

  12. by Michelle on January 24, 2011  5:34 pm Reply

    I just found your blog. I love this painting! It is beautiful! The depth makes my heart swoon! I live in Aurora, IL. I see that you are doing some teaching on the west coast. Are you doing anything local. I'm intrigued by encaustics.

  13. by Seth on January 24, 2011  11:06 pm Reply

    Those last two lines speak volumes. And so does this painting. The glimpse is sensational and I look forward to seeing it all.

  14. by bridgette on January 24, 2011  11:51 pm Reply

    Thanks so much everyone. i worked on it some more and it has changed quite a bit...hoping it all comes together in the end.

    leslie- i bet he was! I think he lived in Port Angeles. His writing is so linked to the pacific northwest, isn't it?

  15. by Joyce Gehl on February 5, 2011  8:34 pm Reply

    love this detail. and the poem. Will you post the final painting when completed? How large is it?

  16. by bridgette on February 6, 2011  4:36 pm Reply

    I will Joyce, thank you! I worked on it this morning and it's almost done. It's 9x12 inches.

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